Review: Julie & Julia
Plot: A young woman, Julie (Amy Adams), struggling to find her purpose in life is inspired by the life, and work of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) - whose own struggle to be taken seriously as an American chef in France, is intertwined with Julieís story.
Review: JULIE & JULIA is two movies in one, andóunfortunately, only one of them is really good. The half involving Meryl Streep as Julia Child is absolutely fantastic, with Streep perfectly embodying the role. She does a great job with Childís voice, and mannerisms, but at the same time doesnít come off as a caricature. In less capable hands, this could have come off as a feature length version of Dan Aykroydís classic SNL sketch (which gets a big shout out here), but Streep is absolutely marvelous throughout. Iíve always thought of Streep as the female Robert DeNiro, and her work here doesnít disappoint. It also helps that sheís working with writer/director Nora Ephron, who also wrote one of Streepís best films- SILKWOOD. While Ephronís films as a director have always been a bit too bland for my tastes, she does a good job at the helm here- and more than makes up for her last film, the infamous big screen version of BEWITCHED.
However, Ephron is less successful with the Amy Adams section of the film. Now, letís get one thing straight: I LOOOOOOOOOOVE Amy Adams. Sheís one of my favorite actresses, and Iíd watch her in anything. My problem with her half of the film has nothing to do with her performance- which is great. Itís just that the subject matter is simply not that compelling to begin with, so imagine how it looks compared to the Julia Child story. In the Streep half of the film, we get a beautiful re-creation of 1950ís Paris, a wonderful love story between Child, and her devoted spouse, Paul- perfectly played by Stanley Tucci, whoís got terrific chemistry with his co-star, and even some political intrigue, relating to the McCarthy hearings. In the Adams/ Julie section, we get her writing a blog, and fighting with her husband- thatís it. Not much of a competition here folks. Adams does her best, but as these sequences drag on, youíll no doubt be anxious for the Child section to kick in again.
I suppose whoever green lit this film didnít think the public would buy a two hour Julia Child biopic with Streep- but then again, they bought her singing Abba in MAMMA MIA!, so maybe they should have reconsidered.
Still, one half of a great movie is better than nothing, and Iím still giving JULIE & JULIA a wholehearted recommendation. Itís absolutely worth seeing, and itís a nice alternative in a summer thatís been pretty action and comedy heavy. Itís also a great date flick- although I recommend having a big meal before watching it, as the lovingly photographed meals JULIE & JULIA prepare with have you drooling, and counting the seconds until you can leave the theatre and devour the first edible thing you set your eyes on (which in my case was a big basket of onion rings- although I imagine Child would not approve).
Grade: 7.5 /10